Shear wave velocity (Vs) is one of the most important input parameter to represent the stiffness of the soil layers. It is preferable to measure Vs by in situ wave propagation tests, however it is often not economically feasible to perform the tests at all locations. Hence, a reliable correlation between Vs and standard penetration test blow counts (SPT-N) would be a considerable advantage. This paper presents the development of empirical correlations between Vs and SPT-N value for different categories of soil in Chennai city characterized by complex variation of soil conditions. The extensive shear wave velocity measurement was carried out using Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves (MASW) technique at the sites where the SPT-N values are available. The bender element test is performed to compare the field MASW test results for clayey soils. The correlations between shear wave velocity and SPT-N with and without energy corrections were developed for three categories of soil: all soils, sand and clay. The proposed correlations between uncorrected and energy corrected SPT-N were compared with regression equations proposed by various other investigators and found that the developed correlations exhibit good prediction performance. The proposed uncorrected and energy corrected SPT-N relationships show a slight variation in the statistical analysis indicating that both the uncorrected and energy corrected correlations can predict shear wave velocity with equal accuracy. It is also found that the soil type has a little effect on these correlations below SPT-N value of about 10. © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009.